WHATSAPP has made a number of big changes to its app this year, and there’s a good chance you missed one or two of them.
While the new features don’t constitute a complete overhaul of the messaging service, they’re worth being aware of.
The changes were unveiled earlier this year and have been live in the app for several weeks.
Importantly, you can access them all if you’re using the latest version of the WhatsApp iOS and Android apps.
The biggest change is the addition of Facebook-style message reactions.
This means you can quickly react to a message without having to send an entire text.
They include thumbs up, love heart, crying with laughter, shocked face, sad tear, and pray (or high five).
Just hold down your finger on a message to react to it.
“Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too,” said WhatsApp.
“We’ll continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.”
WhatsApp previously said it eventually plans to add multiple skin tones and all emoji in future.
That’s not the only change: group chats are also getting a size boost.
WhatsApp group sizes used to be 100 people maximum, before changing to 256 in 2016.
Now the new limit is be 512 participants in a single group chat.
It comes before WhatsApp adds its long-awaited Communities feature– which will let you create “parent groups” that contain lots of group chats within them.
The final change in this major update is the ability to send much bigger files over WhatsApp.
Previously you were limited to 100MB files, but the cap has now been raised to 2GB – a twenty-fold increase.
“We think [it] will be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups,” said WhatsApp.
“We recommend using WiFi for larger files and we’ll display a counter while uploading or downloading to let you know how long your transfer will take.”
These new features are rolling out today, so keep checking your app (and app stores) for updates.
If you want to try upcoming features before everyone else, consider joining the WhatsApp beta to test changes using our guide below.
How to get WhatsApp beta
Scroll down the page until you see “Become a Beta Tester”.
Tap the “I’m In” button and then click “Join” to confirm.
Now all you have to do is wait for the update to the beta version of the app.
Follow Apple’s guide here.
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